So maybe you started going to a Lutheran church, ours or another, or just found some resonance in an awesome Lutheran community, pastor, or theologian. And you start thinking - does this mean that I'm a Lutheran? What does it mean to be a Lutheran? What do Lutherans believe?
Well - to that last question, they believe all kinds of things! And Lutheranism is a big tent that includes actually several denominations and a wide spectrum of belief on most issues.
Our congregation, Georgetown Lutheran, is a part of the largest Lutheran denomination in the US, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. (Here "evangelical" means "good news sharing," not as it's become in the US as shorthand for a primarily politically identified conservative group of nondenominational Christians.)
Anyway, what follows is a set of recommendations, a beginners or refresher course reading and learning list. If you're brand new to the Lutheran faith, want to brush up, or have a specific question, this is a good place to start. Reading like this is both intellectually stimulating but also deepens faith, can bring comfort, and can make you wonder more. If you have questions, or want to chat with someone about it, call or email Pastor Brett anytime.
Baptized, We Live: Lutheranism as a way of life by Daniel Erlander. These illustrated books are engaging - but not childish or cartoony. Deep theology and faith presented across rich pages in easy-to-read format. Another Erlander recommendation (and a favorite of mine is his Tales of the Pointless People).
Two videos, which in the past I've sometimes shown in new member classes, that succinctly convey what it means to be Lutheran. The most central thing in the Lutheran faith is belief in God's grace - that it's all God's doing, not ours, and God's rich forgiveness, love, and relationship is completely unearned on our part!
So here are two Lutheran pastors below, sharing central pieces of what it means and looks like to be Lutheran: former Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson on the question, "Why Lutheran," and Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber (whose books Accidental Saints, Shameless: a Sexual Reformation, and Pastrix, I recommend - in that order) from the 2013 youth gathering on how she became a Lutheran.
What would you add? What do you want to know more about? Want some resources for further reading/study? Leave a comment!
Georgetown Lutheran Church - Pastor Brett Davis
Pastor Brett Davis maintains this blog as a resource page for learning and sharing faith, and for seasonal/series specific read-aheads or extra resources.